|Lower Saxony, Germany|
The Wilseder Berg is part of a nature reserve within the Lüneburg Heath and lies near the villages of Wilsede and Bispingen in the Heidekreis. The hill was formed during the penultimate ice age, the Saale glaciation, and was part of a terminal moraine. It has a broad plateau and a flat summit. Around it lies a varied landscape of hollows, valleys and small ravines. The surrounding area has leached, gravelly-sandy soils with layers of hardpan, covered by open sand, large areas of heathland and extensive coniferous forest. The heathland is grazed by a variety of moorland sheep, known as the Heidschnucke.
The Wilseder Berg lies on a watershed, from which several headstreams emerge, such as those of the Este, Luhe, Wümme and Böhme. Some of these streams feed the river system of the Weser, others flow eventually into the Elbe.
There is a stone on the summit plateau on which there is a metal cone engraved with the directions and distance of neighbouring hills and towns, near and far.
Totengrund and Steingrund
The best-known hollow in the vicinity of the hill is the Totengrund, several hectares in area, south of the museum village of Wilsede. It is an old dead-ice kettle hole with sides up to 40 metres high, covered in heather and juniper bushes. The name means "dead ground" and was probably so called because of its very infertile, i.e. dead, soil, because the valley is very dry. The Totengrund was the kernel of the present-day nature reserve when the Egestorf priest, Wilhelm Bode, purchased the Totengrund in 1906 with donations. There is a controversy involving current plans to build seven wind turbines of a height in excess of 180 meters (over 600 feet) near Behringen. These would be visible from the Totengrund and according to local environmentalists spoil the view.
Another nearby valley is the Steingrund, which is covered thickly with stones deposited during the ice age and is a typical heathland dry valley.
In 1820 King George IV of England, who was also the King of Hanover, tasked the Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Observatory at Göttingen University, Carl Friedrich Gauß, to survey the Kingdom of Hanover. The mathematician Gauß used the summit of the Wilseder Berg, amongst others, as a triangulation station for his land surveys. Other central triangulation points were the Falkenberg (150 m above NN) to the south and the Haußelberg (118 m above NN) to the east.
Part of the triangulation network used for Gauß's survey, depicting the Wilseder Berg, was represented on the reverse side of the 4th series of 10 Deutschmark banknotes.
The picturesque landscape is popular with tourists. There are horse-drawn carriages for hire to the Wilseder Berg from the villages of Oberhaverbeck, Niederhaverbeck, Undeloh, Döhle or Sudermühlen and it can also be reached on foot from Volkwardingen.
Heath beekeeping near the Wilseder Berg
- "Freie Sicht am Totengrund (German)". VNP. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- Overview of the survey triangulation systems in North Germany
- 10DM note, on the reverse side: Sextant and triangulation network (Wilseder Berg at centre right)